CuPID: A look inside

About CuPID

CuPID is a CubeSat used to answer fundamental questions in plasma physics and space was initially launched on September 27th, 2021. It has been used to now what the boundary of Earth’s magnetic field looks like, and understand how energy get's into our planet. The size of CuPID is pretty small considering that it's a whole sattelite; it's about as big as a shoebox. although, regardless of it's size, it has made some very massive contributions to how we can view Earth.

A brief history of CuPID

The first CubeSat to ever be developed was in around 1999 with the goal to make sattelites that were small, cheap, and easy to make. Jacqueline Bachrach joined Walsh's Introduction to Rocketry course and joined his lab to later play a very big part into the development of CuPID “With CuPID, we want to know what the boundary of Earth’s magnetic field looks like, and understand how and why energy sometimes gets in,” Walsh said. In around 2007, a team of scientists, engineers, technicians and students at Goddard and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia began to develop on the prototype for CuPID. In 2012, Dr. Michael R. Collier tested the camera for the first in time space. In 2015, a predecessor of CuPID flew on a second sounding rocket flight. Soon after, the project was selected by NASA to bring the full satellite with avionics to fruition. Students and scientists have been working on CuPID ever since.

How does it work?

The 6U CuPID cubesat is a small volume (10cm x 20 cm x 30 cm), small mass (8kg) spacecraft comprised of a number of subcomponents working together to address the goals of the mission. The autonomous vehicle contains all the necessary components to generate and store power, point in the appropriate directions, communicate with the ground, and collect scientific measurements.


While CuPID is in flight, it is being by a single microcontroller while gathering knowledge through it's sun sensors.